Players out for themselves - Beckenbauer

Franz Beckenbauer maintains the England manager’s job is the “best in the world” and feels Sven-Goran Eriksson’s departure will not harm the chances of glory in Germany this summer.

The search has already started to find a successor for the Swede, who will leave his post after the World Cup finals.

Beckenbauer believes the situation should have no affect on England’s chances, and speaks from personal experience.

The 60-year-old announced, in November 1989, he would leave his post as Germany manager after the World Cup in Italy the following summer, and watched his side go on to lift the trophy.

“The players are playing for themselves and the team, they are not playing for the coach. I do not think it will affect the England way to play,” said Beckenbauer, who won the World Cup as player and coach.

“It is normal. At a club level or in a national side, the players play for themselves, their family, their income. They do not care who is the manager.

“It is not a usual situation to announce before the World Cup a coach is leaving after, but I do not see any problem.”

Beckenbauer had no managerial experience before he took over the German national team after their ill-fated 1984 European Championships campaign.

However, it proved nohurdle for the former Bayern Munich defender to overcome, as he guided Germany to World Cup glory six years later.

And Beckenbauer believes it could still prove a winning formula in the modern game.

“I did not have a coaching license, but I had the potential and the name to keep criticism down, because the team at this time was heavily criticised,” he added.

“I took over without any coaching experience on a club level or anywhere.

“What is the difference, to have the international experience as player or as a coach?

“For 20 years I was playing under the best coaches, so for me it was not a big change to get into the coaches situation.”

The likes of Sam Allardyce, Alan Curbishley and Stuart Pearce have been touted as possible successors to Eriksson, while Dutchman Guus Hiddink and current Portugal boss Luiz Felipe Scolari are two top foreign coaches said to be in the running.

Beckenbauer added: “For me, it is maybe the best job in the world.

“It must be the aim of every coach in the world to coach the England national team because it is the motherland of football.”

On Hiddink, who guided Australia to this summer’s finals, Beckenbauer commented: “He is one of the best coaches in the world.

“He has a lot of experience, and had a double job with Australia this year, so he must be a genius to coach two successful teams in one season. It is fantastic.”

Beckenbauer first lifted the World Cup in 1974, and believes England can have a major impact in this summer’s finals.

“For me, England are still the best team in Europe,” said Beckenbauer, also part of the side beaten in the 1966 final at Wembley.

“England’s defence is excellent, and they had only one loss in qualification.

“It would be great for them to win it 40 years after.”

As to the chances of his own country, now under the guidance of former Tottenham striker Jurgen Klinsmann, Beckenbauer added: “It is a young team, and I am really curious how they are doing.

“Two years of exhibition games are easy, but to play a World Cup is tremendous pressure. Can the young players take this?

“My personal top favourite is Brazil, they are full of world-class players and also impressed in the Confederations Cup.

“But in 2002 I said France and Argentina were my favourites and both went home after the group stages!”

Beckenbauer is chairman of the organisation committee for the 2006 World Cup, and was in London on Thursday as part of his welcome visits to all 31 countries travelling to this year’s finals, meeting Prime Minister Tony Blair at Downing Street before an evening reception at Gibson Hall.

He was quick to dispel a report from a German consumer protection watchdog, which warned of “serious deficiencies” in security at four of the 12 stadiums to be used during the finals, which start in June

“Everything is fine. We do not have any problems,” Beckenbauer insisted.

“There has been some criticism of the stadiums, their security, but that is nonsense.

“They are brand new stadiums, and the security side is excellent, so there is no need to be afraid.”

Beckenbauer added: “The two governments are working closely together and I am very optimistic we can handle any hooligans.

“But England fans two years ago in Portugal were fantastic and why should it not be the same in Germany?”


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